Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Swing and a Miss (Warning, not for the squeamish)

Something set off the red squirrel trap last night.

I let the dogs out for a run at twilight. I picked up the trap and put it out of the dog's reach. They like peanut butter and I did not want to have to explain to Belladonna why her precious Hercules had a tattooed tongue.

I suspect it was a raccoon or opossum that triggered the trap. Regardless, there was no body in the trap for diagnosis.

Looking at the trap, and considering how tiny red squirrels are, I intend to add a second row of points so they are, effectively, a 1/4" apart.

As you can see from this image, squirrels are very tactile and use their front paws a great deal. That means that the head may be farther away from the kill zone than you first visualize.

My first inclination was to mess with the kill bar but that causes all kinds of issues with the length and position of the dog. If I extend it by adding wire, it will make the kill bar heavier and it will close more slowly.

The dark brown trapezoid is the approximate location of where the bait shield must go. ERJ, we put the "trap" in "trapezoid".
My current thinking is that I need to shield the bait so the squirrel must move deeper into the trap to be able to reach around the shield to get the bait.

The shield must be high enough that the points may, or may not be effective.

The next stream of thoughts involve, "How can I make a bait shield that will enhance the points rather than degrade their performance?"

The probable results reminds me of a Monty Python skit "Its just a flesh wound".

Another option would be to use a palisade of 2" finishing nails for points to block the squirrel's paws. That might be less messy if my hand slips while resetting the trap.

A final thought on "training" the squirrels to be trappable, there is no reason I cannot put out baited, unset traps. The squirrels would quickly learn they cannot pull the bait through the palisade and would figure out they have to enter the trap to earn the food. I can put the trap out baited but unset a few days and then set it the third day.


  1. Baited unset traps work well to train wild pigs. No reason why it wouldn't lull squirrels.

  2. Have you thought about trying a bucket trap? Works super well with mice and is easy to make..not sure about its efficacy for red squirrels though.

  3. (expecting to see a bunch of left-handed squirrels at ERJ's place.)


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